Design, the facet of presentation which attracts the eye and stirs thelittle grey cells into action. I have long understood that I have an aesthetic which is somewhat off center with most of those around me. Yet, If I were to invite you to my second life abode the chill would soon settle into a yet unrecognized comfort; like sinking into the plush furniture of proper Victorian drawing room.
I bring this subject up from a find whilst I scrolled through my 300 news feeds in my Google reader, (love google reader), and came across a metal skull lamp in an article in Gizmodo. The writer of the article calls it “..the most terrifying table lamp…”.I call it beautiful. I want it, crave it.
If I could have my druthers I would have a ‘den’ which looked much like the ‘Closer’ video by NIN, this is what I would do if means were no object.
Growing up in Sag Harbor I was fascinated by the Victorian aesthetic and had ample opportunity to explore show homes which reproduced this, but it was too soft, too tranquil. Where, I asked were the drawing rooms of great explorers, whalers, and botanists?-(think about it, in order for someone to see and study a rare plant he would have to travel in harsh accommodations and face death by nature every moment. No rescue by GPS here. Darwin was a tough mother!). Everything had been sanitized by the local historical revisionists.
I left the semi isolated Sag Harbor to shack up with an artsy hipster in downtown NYC and found a world I only previously dreamed I could be part of. The girl and I soon parted but the stamp of what I was introduced to struck home, THIS is where I was supposed to be, this is what I had been searching for.
Concurrently I had just begun to understand and appreciate the Punk and hardcore movement in music when I met Pam and Marc. The Koch’s were uber NYC downtown rock hipsters via Buffalo and close friends with one of the great unknown bands of the early 80s, The Splat Cats. Marc collected the ephemera of kitsch gothic ghoulishness. Their Ludlow street apartment was filled to the brim with records, comic books, videos, pop culture models, books of suspicious origins and early 19th century coffins-the ones with viewing windows on the cover. I still have several of the birthday cards given to me which consisted of heavily gilded photos of a specific coffin or groups of coffins. One birthday I was given the book Wisconsin Death Trip, a book I read nearly as often as I do Cyrano de Bergerac or Foucault's Pendulum. The Koch’s home was not so much an education as a revelation, that central aesthetic which I had been searching now surrounded me each time I entered their home. I was introduced to the art of Joe Coleman, Joel Peter Witkin and innumerable bands of nearly every genre. It was a cross between Maxilla and Mandible and the Rembrant room at the Met.
Around the same time I chanced to meet Robin Ludwig, an artisan for whom the word itself is his being. I met Robin through his daughter when I was in an Aveda show, I had very famous scissor hands cut my, then looong, hair and got a few products and bucks to boot. Robin played gritty guitar, growled when he sang and created works of art out of metal with skilled delicate hands. Watching him work was nearly as intoxicating as the mead wine he brewed in the loft apartment they occupied smack dab in the heart of Chinatown.
This combination of old world craftsmanship and a full involvement of the modern drew me into a local high end audio store to drool over an early 80's retro tube amp placed in the front window, and to be promptly be escorted out by staff – “come back when you have money to spend kid!”. The amp itself was evidently very good but the cost was for the art of the product, it called out and pulled you in with how it played with the light, its warmth and visual shimmer.
While I worked in recording studio and learned the in n’ outs of the main gear I was constantly drawn to theFocusrites, Joe Meek gear and theUREI LA-2A’s . The fascination was not just as moth to flame but a concerted study of the device and the names behind it. The boxes spoke to me, called me in to learn not just about compression or EQ but about the early days of audio and the men who made or inspired these gleaming boxes; I also found out about their inspiration and obsessions.
So, you’ll excuse me as I mount this “…most terrifying…” lamp to a brushed aluminum stand shaped like a gothic fence rail and revel in its lineage of history, artisanal heritage and learning it encapsulates for me.
One has to wonder if the quest for wireless HD distribution is more closely related to the Philosophers Stone then Grand Unified Theory at this point. A friend of mine compared this to eating a cake by saying 'you never know if its going to taste good until you eat it, and then its too late. A lesson in confections from the kitchen of Mrs. Schrodinger indeed.
Wireless HD distribution is something I would install in the blink of an eye, were I confident it would\could work reliably in both speed and location. My home is not new, not nearly new, not was new to my father in his youth; in fact my home is just barely considered new by the strict definition of antique. While spacious and accommodating my 1901 colonial home still has walls of 1x3's and lathe under plaster. I spent a good portion of my formative childhood tearing down just such walls in the numerous homes we lived in to rebuild and update. I know just how difficult it is to retrofit these homes with modern wiring without planning a complete renovation. It is not a task I look forward to with any pleasure.
I also have years of experience working with wireless systems of all sorts and know full well the fragility of the connective infrastructure. RF transmission of media can be summed up simply - Wireless transfer of data is the most convenient method yet developed, it is also the most inconsistent and unreliable form ever put into operation. (I think this statement has a very Mark Twain lilt to it and given his relationshipp with Tesla quite possibly attributable to him in an alternate Universe).
The EE Times has published, as part of a year end 'Hot Technologies to Watch for in 2009, an eye opening article on the the relative stasis HD home distribution over RF has exhibited. In the article 'Not getting the big pictures(s) yet', the EE Times editors describe 802.11n as 'troubled', UWB as a 'failure' and the 60GHz as '...too immature...'.
So, why pursue an RF HD distribution model? HDMI has some notorious short falls when it comes to whole house distribution which include but are not limited to cable length and physical connectors. It is a market that has huge potential to make redundant an entire category of cable and distribution. Trouble is what we have currently and for the near term results in an end video more BrundleFly then Seth Brundle.
I suppose I should take a deep breath, thank my mother for having the forethought to prepare me for this moment and with wrecking bar in hand begin the process of renovating to run wire.